You are probably wondering just where the hell I have been… right? Maybe? I hope so, otherwise I guess you wouldn’t be here…
October was an insanely busy month. Between work, family visiting from out of state, my friend’s wedding, and just adulting in general, I couldn’t find any time to sit down and breathe for five minutes, let alone write about any of the great beers I have tried or what I have been up to. I’m sorry! Life is just like that sometimes.
So, fast forward to the Friday, 27th of October: I’m in the backseat of a Ford Explorer, rumbling on down the interstate with nothing but toothpick pine trees passing my eyes as we (my family, my boyfriend, and I) whizzed on up the East Coast to Savannah, GA.
Upon arriving to one of my most favorite historical towns, we dropped our bags and the first thing I KNEW I had to do was visit Coastal Empire Beer Co. I knew months ago, when I first tried their Coco Piña Gose that I HAD to go to their brewery.
We left the tourist and SCAD student laden downtown area and rolled through some rough, sketchy places, until ten minutes or so later we pulled up to a warehouse building. I double and triple checked the address, worrying that we might have been sent to the wrong place. There was not really much signage that said, Hey, we brew beer, we are here!
We sat in the car for a minute (they were not opened yet) and finally a man lifts up the garage door to the warehouse and BOOM the Coastal Empire banner is flapping in the wind and I am smiling ear to ear. We have found paradise.
Don’t believe me? LET ME SHOW YOU COASTAL EMPIRE IN ALL ITS GLORY.
It is one of those rustic, transparent microbreweries that just lets the beer speak for itself. No fancy decor, no bright neon signs, just the mash tuns, stainless steel piping, fermenters, taps, and the people that work there.
Oh, and a bar and some tables and stools so you don’t have to stand the whole time. You wouldn’t be able to anyway, because when you try one of their beers, you’re going to need to sit down. Trust me.
Moving along, la dee da, I am sitting down at the bar and taking it all in. I notice the grandiose menu of all the bubbly things my dreams are made of and I just have no idea where to even start.
You can view their beautiful draft menu here.
I couldn’t make up my mind, it was too much, too fast. I decided to get a flight. I almost do not ever get flights, at least locally, because I prefer to drink one full glass of a beer instead. Coastal Empire is not close to home, though (not too far away, either—THANK YOU JESUS) so, yeah. Flight it is.
Here are the four beers featured in my flight, left to right, shown in the picture (except the one I had already drank, I need to work on that):
- Blood Orange Citrus Breeze Sour Pale Ale (5.2% ABV): Sour with a pale ale/bitter taste, but it is balanced. Definitely has a strong smell and taste of blood orange. You can tell I really liked it since it isn’t pictured, haha.
- Gourd, that’s good! Pumpkin Ale (6.1% ABV): This doesn’t have a strong pumpkin/pie spice taste, which is a good thing for me. Unless it tastes JUST like pumpkin pie, then that’s OK. A slightly bitter aftertaste. Tastes like a good, standard beer with a spot of pumpkin thrown in. Not too shabby.
- Pool Side Strawberry Kiwi IPA (6.7% ABV): An interesting take on an IPA. Super fruity, almost tastes like a Caprisun mixed with an IPA. I know that sounds really weird, but trust me, it was actually pretty good!
- Oktoberfest Märzen (5.1%): A nice, standard fall beer. This had a smooth, malty taste and a hoppy flavor at the end. I love Oktoberfest beers, and this is definitely one of my favorites. I could see myself drinking this out of a huge stein and out-hoist everyone at the bar to prove my love for this beer.
*Side note* I just had a lightbulb moment and realized Märzen means March… ~the more you know~
I also tried a sip of someone else’s drink, the Southern Delight Praline Amber (red ale), and that was damn good. One of my favorites. I am fortunate enough that they distribute this one (and only 5 others from their menu) here in Florida!
The Southern Delight is exactly what I think of when I think about Georgia’s good ol’ southern favorite: PRALINE. It starts off with a malty beer flavor, then a nutty taste of pecans hits your tongue throughout. Faint notes of vanilla and caramel float around with each sip. It was easy to drink, to. It was as smooth as honey butter being spread on a warm, fluffy buttermilk biscuit. The ABV is 5.2%. An all-around, delicious brew.
It does have a *little* sweet flavor for those with a palate used to bitter beers. I didn’t think it was sweet at all (and I am not a huge fan of sweet stuff).
I actually think I tried all but two beers on their current in-house menu. One other beer I will mention for all those who enjoy the sweeter things in life is the Pineapple/Cranberry Gose (4% ABV). It was not a typical gose, much more sweet than it was sour. It was an interesting brew that I have not quite seen in many places. The flavor combination was also really good!
Overall, if you are ever in the general vicinity of Savannah (or nearby, passing through on a road trip) you MUST go to Coastal Empire Beer Co. It is a fantastic brewery and I have no doubt in my mind they will become very popular and highly coveted all across the nation.
The next night, I decided to head over to Moon River Brewing.
They have just won best mid-sized brew pub of the year. While I did enjoy the atmosphere and coziness of the beer garden, I wasn’t as impressed with their variety or beers as much as I was with Coastal.
Don’t get me wrong—they had some good beers. I only got to taste a couple, and it was also after I had already been drinking all day. So maybe I am biased, maybe I should have let that be the first place I drank beer that day… Whatever, it just gives me an excuse to go back!
They brew a variety of beers over the year, half of them are brewed 24/7, the other half remain seasonal or small batches. You can check out their list of beers here.
This is probably why it is better if you live closer to Savannah, you probably have easier access to these brews and can tell me which ones to try for my next visit. They do not distribute these, either. It is basically impossible for me to get my hands on any other beers unless I make the 4-5 hour trek up there.
Yoga Pants was a great, standard American pale ale. At 5% ABV, this could be a solid sidekick if you’re planning on day drinking. Not too bitter, very balanced, and easy to drink.
If you are feeling a little more adventurous and want more hops in your hop hole (I would say pie hole but we are talking about good beer), then I would go with Swamp Fox. It is a nice IPA that has a dry, but crisp, flavor. A solid choice if you are planning on having some of their pub food and need something stronger after a crappy day, something with a 7% ABV.
I also tried a sample of Taterlicious, which was a pumpkin/yam amber ale. I think this would have been better if the pumpkin/yam flavor was kept to a minimum. It was too sweet for my taste, but might make a nice dessert drink. Sort of similar to Funky Buddha’s Sweet Potato beer. They also put crushed pumpkin seeds and pie spices around the rim.
That’s about all I have for now! I do have even MORE beers to talk about from Savannah (bet you’re thinking I have a problem at this point) but I will mention those in a separate post.
Savannah just has great beer. Go wander. Go sip. But not too much, because those cobblestone streets by the river are a bitch and I do not care how comfortable your shoes are, you will not survive for long. Drink responsibly!
Let me know what you think. 🙂